“Vegan Food” is Inexpensive. Crap Food is Cheap.

Hi everyone, It’s Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
from joyfulvegan.com. Welcome to Vegan POV. Today, I want to address something that goes
something like this: A vegan diet is accessible only to the privileged elite who have enough
money to buy organic produce and expensive vegan products.Here is my point of view. For
centuries, meat, dairy and eggs have been products of privilege and symbols of affluence,
affordable only to the wealthy and denied to the poor. Ultimately, that has proven to
be a good thing, because as you look at rural communities and in less affluent countries
where industrialization has not yet taken hold, meat tends to be served in very small
portions or eaten only on special occasions. And because they are eating predominately
animal-free, they center their diet on vegetables, fruits, grains – the types of which vary
according on the regions they live in – and as a result, their diets often are healthier
and more sustainable than the diets of their more wealthy counterparts. In other words,
they don’t have what we call “diseases of affluence” (atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes)
all of which have been linked to the consumption of meat, dairy and egg all of which come with
industrialization and the mechanizing of the food system. It’s only because meat and animal
products are kept artificially cheap due to this factory system that treats animals as
so many inputs and outputs and because of government subsidies, it’s because of this
that the poor (and everyone else) can afford to eat every day what are – really – very
expensive things to produce. Now that’s not a good thing, because these diseases of affluence
afflict those with and without affluence. They’re diseases without prejudice or concern
for class, or economic status, or race. (And I’m not even getting into the fact that
fast food restaurants purposefully open in low-income neighborhoods, targeting the most
economically vulnerable with their cheap crap.) (I’m also not even getting into the fact
that healthcare – for these diseases of affluence – is less available to the poor.
There is so much to talk about when it comes to economics and food) So, I’m sorry – did
someone say that eating plant is for the rich?The truth is when people make the transition to
a whole foods plant-based diet, one of the things they notice is how much less money
they spend on food. Even with all of the government subsidies, animal proteins are still typically
more expensive than plant proteins. Sure, convenience foods – whether they’re vegan
or non-vegan – simply cost more than whole foods. That’s because you’re choosing
to pay with money rather than in time, you want to spend money rather than spend your
time. But luckily, our choices are not limited to “cheap animal-based hot dogs” or “expensive
veggie hot dogs.” That’s a false dichotomy. The options for affordable, healthful plant-based
foods are endless. But notice I say affordable and not cheap. There’s a big difference
between eating affordably and eating cheaply. Most Americans are eating artificially cheap
food, made such due to government subsidies that I mentioned before and buy-backs for
meat, dairy, and eggs. The problem isn’t that healthful, organic, whole plant-foods
are expensive; the problem is that animal products are priced artificially low, even
though they’re very expensive to produce. In reality, the cheap “food” that people are
eating have huge costs beyond dollars: costs to our health, costs to the Earth, costs to
the people who produce our food, costs to the animals, and of course there are so many
ways to reduce these costs to the benefit of everyone involved. Eating a plant-based
diet and supporting local farmers and organic growing methods is one way to do this. In
terms of eating affordably, there are many things we can do: to eat at home rather than
at restaurants, buy in bulk rather than paying for packaging, cook from scratch, eat what
you have in the kitchen already – a lot of us run to the store even because “we have
nothing to eat in my kitchen!” when we probably have something to eat in our kitchen, but
we run to the store and the of course we buy way more than the one thing we said that we’re
going to the store for, so stretch out the time between going to the grocery store.Chop
vegetables in advance so that the vegetables that we do buy that are healthful for us don’t
compost in our refrigerator and then we go “what happened to the vegetables? Become a
savvy shopper, make a list and stick to it and eat less, I think a lot of us can probably
eat less than we do and this applies to eating out as well, share a meal with a person you’re
eating with rather than buying your own entree or dessert. There are so many ways to eat
affordably and certainly starting with making the foundation of our diet whole plant-foods,
it’s certainly been the way we’ve done it for centuries, eating that way has been the
most sustainable, it’s been the most affordable, it’s been the most healthful and the most
compassionate. Thanks for watching, everyone. If you like what you heard today, please give
it a thumbs up, and make sure you subscribe to this channel so you’ll be the first to
hear about more videos. Please show the love and share the video, and if you’re able,
you can even make these messages possible by supporting them. Visit Joyfulvegan.com
to do so and to check out my podcast Food for Thought. You can also find me on Facebook,
Twitter, G+, Instagram, and everywhere else you might be looking! For the animals, this
is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Thanks for being a voice for those who don’t have one.

24 thoughts on ““Vegan Food” is Inexpensive. Crap Food is Cheap.

  1. There are many Thai vegan who live in rural area. They are way way poorer than many poorest westerners. 🙂

  2. You always give us great ideas!  Thanks for your mission to open our eyes!  God bless!

  3. So many costs from the animal industries are externalized – From health care costs to the environment — And of course the animals. Keeping all this in mind – Eating vegan is a bargain!  

  4. Many people ask Vegans "poor you, you can't eat meat…", making it seems that Vegans are missing out on something precious. On the contrary it’s actually a privilege to be a Vegan. Vegans attained a treasurable gift to be able to come to our senses that a sentient beings' life weighs far more than the bit of taste in the mouth, this “ability and understanding” is like the source of a fountain of bliss, continuously pouring out unimaginable amount of joy and peace…

  5. loved this video @Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!  this is such an important topic to address.  as you've illuminated, the true cost of animal products is hidden below the subsidies and the false labels we place on them.  there's the financial cost of course but also the moral, ethical, environmental and health costs.  i love how you broke this down and addressed it so logically, sensibly and clearly.  keep up the great videos!  so happy to see you YouTubing it up!

  6. Exactly, we hear that "privileged" vegan diet thing often, when it's the opposite. Since I went vegan and stopped eating fast food I save about $150 every month on food alone, then there are the constipation "remedies" etc. that I no longer waste money on too. The animal diet is for the "elite" who confine and feed "farm" animals, and try to deal with all the filth and disease suffered by those animals, while people around the world go hungry.

  7. Yes, proccessed food are proccessed so who have to pay someone to preccess it for you. And you have to pay people to mutilate and kill animals for those animal products to be in the grocery store, plus you have to pay for th efood the animals eat. If you buy a vegan meal, of course it's going to be more expensive because you're paying someone to make it for you. They just don't get it

  8. Colleen, you inspired me to actually run the numbers on inexpensive grocery store food vs. fast food. Most of us probably know by now that simple, cheap, plant-based foods that you can find at any grocery store have more fiber and less saturated fat and cholesterol than fast food, but did you know they have more protein, iron, and calcium? There is just no need for humans to consume animal flesh or secretions.http://humanelivingnet.net/2014/10/21/feeding-hungry-humans/

  9. Thank you CPG for pointing out that the inequities in our food system run deep and that racism and economic disempowerment have been institutionalized in government policies and public health services for a very long time.  the only 'privilege' vegans have is insight into what's really going on in our food system and what to do about it–grow and eat real whole foods!  For more good reads check out Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook, Breeze Harper's Sistah Vegan Project, and Byron Hurt's film Soul Food Junkies.

  10. Hey Colleen! I love love love your podcast and have just discovered your POV videos, which are equally as great and informative.

    This is an interesting topic to approach, and one I think about often. I'm Australian, but recently spent a year traveling around the US. I noticed the trend seemed to be wealthier, affluent areas promoting vegan diets via stores, markets, dining options etc., while poorer, or more remote areas were typically limited to fast food and convenience store style options (if any). 

    You brought up ways to implement time over money when it comes to diet – making things from scratch etc. but for lower income households, often working hours are erratic and demanding. In this situation, while changing over to a whole foods diet might be understood and desired, it is something that can become extremely difficult when faced with more convenient, time-saving options.

    While I'm fortunate enough to be in a situation where I can put time before money in terms of my diet, I think it's interesting to hear a range of voices on this particular issue, and considering small steps that might be giant change in themselves.
    I found this article about how implementing small changes through heavily trafficked, convenient food chains might be a positive way to go. Imagine a McDonald's menu of the future that offered a vegan selection? (who knows) http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-junk-food-can-end-obesity/309396/ 
    I don't necessarily agree with everything, but it's an interesting supplementary POV.

    Anyway just some thoughts this video inspired me to share with you. 

  11. Another wonderful video! Thank you so much for making these. I have definitely heard the argument for not going vegan based on cost and that a vegan lifestyle is only for the privileged. Having you model a composed, articulate POV is extremely helpful so next time I'll have some idea for what I can say.

  12. I have saved so much money since going vegan.  I mean, what is cheaper than potatoes?  Or beans and rice? Even a salad meal using a whole head of lettuce (which you can buy for $1) fills you up… stocks your body with vitamins…and costs waaaay less than a meat and veg dinner. As you continue to point out, there just is no logical reason to not go vegan. 🙂

  13. Hi Colleen..I've been struggling with the debate on drinking milk for some time now and you helped seal the deal…thank you…no more milk for me! I am writing to ask you to recommend a good, substantial source of protein and calcium since I can no longer have GHEE, butter, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese etc. Any shakes that you might suggest? I am a woman aged 57 who does not like popping pills…

  14. Wait so, all this makes sense. I'm a new vegan too, but then why are there so many countries with starving, malnourished people? Many cultures are predominantly vegetarian/vegan as I've heard before, like India and Thailand/Cambodia, and yet there are still so many starving people there. What do YOU think is the cause of starvation? Is the earth in those countries in Africa simply too dry to grow vegetables? I know that there ARE very lush green beautiful lands in Africa, so I don't know…Maybe there just isn't enough jobs offered? But why is it targeted in Africa and Middle Eastern countries and rural parts of China for example?? (Of course there is a huge number of homeless people in America too) but the other countries are more talked about. WHAT is the cause of that?

  15. I find it funny how people criticise me for purchasing organic whole foods (for the prices you'd expect them to be anyway) yet, during the weekends, most people never think twice about spending a fortune on toxic, liver-destroying shots and alcoholic beverages which they more than likely painfully regurgitate the following morning. lol

    Thanks for the informative vid! You explained it eloquently and it was really easy to follow! 🙂

  16. Ok. I'm 58 years old and I love to cook from scratch. I'm just starting to change my diet. Ill b watching your videos for some knowledge and insight. You know what your talking about and I like that. Ill take my time on this journey and get the best I can for my money. Thanks

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